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How to influence unfair employers
Valentina Schokina (right) is receiving legal consultations at the Community Law Center Valentina Schokina (right) is receiving legal consultations at the Community Law Center

A lot of people in Ukraine do not register their work and don’t sign contracts with their employers. This can seriously undermine their rights as unfair employers use them and fire people when they do not longer need them. Unregistered work is often a danger for vulnerable people.

Bila Tserkva Community Law Center has a lot of clients who need help with their employers. Victims are often fired without notice and do not receive their last month payments. Valentina has turned to the Community Law Center with a similar issue.

In December 2012, Valentina started working as a cleaning person for “Erker” enterprise. Mykola, Head of “Erker”, promised her to sign a contract with her later. However, after nine months of work it still did not happen. Valentina continued to work and received her salary. But one day, Mykola informed her in a phone call that she is no longer needed in “Erker”. Moreover, she did not receive her payement for the last month of work. 1380 hryvnas was a substantial sum for this woman, as she has to support her daughter and parents. The loss of job and money meant that she could not feed her family.

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Valentyna Scholina with her daughter are reading the letter on "Erker"'s abuse 

Friends recommended her to turn the Community Law Center. The chances to help her were low, as she did not register her work. However, Center’s lawyers agreed to take her case. After several consultations, they first opted for an informational “battle”. They advised Valentina to write to all executive State bodies: attorney’s office, tax services, police, local State executive service etc. She explained the story in her letters and asked for help to fight unfair employer. The first person to receive a copy of this letter was Mykola, who fired her. However, he refused to give her money back.

But in a few days Valentina was invited to “Erker”. Mykola apologized and offered her money. Indeed, he probably got frightened by all possible verifications and problems that he will face because of these letters. He prefered to pay 1380 hryvnas to Valentina.

Valentina has made several conclusions. First of all, in the future she will always register her work and ask for a contract before starting. Secondly, she understood that even in a very difficult situation it is important to act and to fight for your rights. She explained that she is very satisfied with the work of Community Law Center that helped her even when her case was almost lost. She was impressed: even a poor cleaning person can fight for her rights, receive help and win.

Additional Information: Community Law Center in Bila Tserkva was established with the support of the International “Renaissance” Foundation within the framework of “Legal empowerment of the poor Initiative” and is administrated by “Pravova yednist” public organization. You can learn more on the Centers network activities, basics and principles of work here: www.legalspace.org.

 

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